If your child is at a grammar school what did you do to get them in there? And when did you start? And do you have any tips?

(129 Posts)
WideWebWitch Sat 07-Jul-07 13:06:43

Ds is 9, will be 10 in October and is about to finish year 4 and go into year 5.

We are in catchment for a grammar school. I really want him to go there.

So, what do I have to do to get him in? Happy to sell my grandmother, soul etc to do it.

Am I too late already? Is tuition to get him through the 11+ a good idea? I think he's probably bright enough so I don't think it's a risk coaching to get him in and then him floundering but all and any advice much appreciated. Thanks.

Milliways Mon 09-Jul-07 17:18:43

DS started at Grammar last year.

I passed him my intelligent genes & filtered out DH's

Seriously, we bought papers from WHSmiths & worked through them in Yr5. Any Maths that I couldn't explain his Primary teacher would show him at Lunchtimes (Level 6 stuff was appearing).

We found a great book "How to do Non-Verbal REasoning" that gave good tips on how to approach the questions.

DS was really motivated. He saw the school & decided that was where he wanted to go, and he asked to do the Papers.

No outside Tutors - too expensive!

fircone Mon 09-Jul-07 17:46:07

Nowadays people are much more competitive about everything. My cousin had his son tutored for 3 years for 11+, despite being told by the school that he was not grammar material, and he did not get in. My cousin and his wife were livid - they and many others do not get that just because you have a big house, a big car and big holidays your offspring have great big brains.

fircone Mon 09-Jul-07 17:58:58

I mean, 'do NOT have big brains'.

fircone Mon 09-Jul-07 18:00:24

do I mean that? I don't think I'd pass the 11+ any more!

WideWebWitch Mon 09-Jul-07 18:42:25

Hi miljee, I went to girls grammar in Salis, expect it was the same one...

Judy1234 Mon 09-Jul-07 19:47:30

So the reason there is more demand for grammars now is because they have broader catchment areas? Why don't they reduce them then?

If you have a county like say Kent or Bucks which has grammars surely there are the same number of grammars there ever were and as many children as there ever were living in the counties so why is it harder now to get in?

katelyle Tue 10-Jul-07 07:29:18

Grammar schools don't have catchment areas at all. That's the problem with the grammars in, for example, Tunbridge Wells - they take the top 11+ passes, regardless of where they live - so a child could live next door to the school, pass the test and not get in because a child 2 hours drive away got a higher pass park. It's another example of the utter unfairness of the system - but con't start me on the subject, or I'll get nothing done today!

pyjamaqueen Tue 10-Jul-07 07:38:14

Katelyle - you're wrong. TWGGS for example has a really tight catchment area. The grammars are always about 4x oversubscribed with people who have passed the 11+, so they have to move on to other criteria such as where you live.

fircone Tue 10-Jul-07 07:39:56

And many grammar school areas have become a lot more poncey - Bucks and Kent are commuter counties. The village primary school I went to was very socially mixed, and three of us passed the 11+ in my year out of 20-something children. But now you can't get near the school for 4X4s, and I bet most of the parents are determined their child will pass the 11+.

pyjamaqueen Tue 10-Jul-07 07:41:27

To answer the op, it's not too late. Most people who are doing coaching start in year 5. The point of the coaching is to working on exam technique - ie looking at past papers and working out what kind of questions might come up.

pyjamaqueen Tue 10-Jul-07 07:42:27

Oh God, now people with 4x4s are stopping your children getting into the best schools??? When did this turn into that kind of discussion?

fircone Tue 10-Jul-07 07:48:16

There's room on every thread for a pop at 4X4 people - even 'recipes'.
Anyway, if your child is very bright, they will pass. If your child is quite bright, they may pass but get on with the coaching.

Anna8888 Tue 10-Jul-07 08:11:30

I went to a presentation at Tonbridge Grammar School not long ago and the head was very clear that the school had no catchment area in the last two years (not sure about earlier) - there were pupils who commuted from London to Tonbridge every day.

swedishmum Tue 10-Jul-07 08:28:56

DD1 is at Grammar School and dd2 starts in September. I didn't pay for any coaching, but I am a teacher so I'm not sure if that counts as we did papers, looked at techniques but not till Y6. Doing a bit of work with ds but he's dyslexic and not v good at verbal reasoning (Y5 already).

swedishmum Tue 10-Jul-07 08:30:54

London to Tonbridge by commuter train at 11? Sounds mad!

dayofftomorrow Tue 10-Jul-07 08:34:29

The children from DD's class who got the grammar school places (or scholarships at local independents) all had at least one parent who was a teacher (not many places as just two grammars out of more than a dozen schools in the area)

pyjamaqueen Tue 10-Jul-07 08:50:57

Anna, you are right - Tonbridge take the people with the highest scores, so they come from a much wider area. They are stopping the sibling policy next year though. (They previously gave places to siblings with a bare pass regardless of scores.)

pyjamaqueen Tue 10-Jul-07 09:06:41

WWW, I think you have to be guided by your ds's primary school. They should tell you in Y5, whether they think it's worth applying to grammar schools. You really need their support as if, for example, he's ill on the day and messes up the papers, they can appeal and send in examples of his work as evidence. If they don't feel they've got the right kind of evidence that he's working at a high level, they won't recommend you go forward.

Of course, there are plenty of children who get in to grammar schools without tutoring, but most parents jump on the bandwagon because everyone else is, and that kind of raises the bar! All school will do SOME kind of 11+ practise, but it may be rather limited. You can always do it yourself at home though. Buy some papers from WHSmith and have a look.

frogs Tue 10-Jul-07 09:35:50

Xenia, the reason there is more demand is that there are fewer grammar schools overall. Even in those areas that have grammar schools right across the LEA, I'd bet there's a large intake from neighbouring LEAs. And in Kent and Bucks there are grammar schools that are considered more and less desirable, so the oversubscription is not even. For the North and South London grammars, there are at least 10 applicants for every place, largely because there are so few realistic alternatives that don't involve the blunt end of £12K a year.

frogs Tue 10-Jul-07 09:38:26

Pyjamaqueen, the opinion of the primary school is not necessarily a guide, since some primary school heads are strongly ideologically opposed to grammar schools. We were told we shouldn't send our dd1 to grammar school -- there was a stony silence on the part of the head when the results came back and she'd actually scored the highest mark of all the candidates. And there were several other girls in her year who would have comfortably got in, but succumbed to pressure from the school not to apply.

dayofftomorrow Tue 10-Jul-07 09:42:56

we must be very lucky in our borough in that the alternatives are very good, the grammars are the only available single sex option and there are quite a few parents who want that

katelyle Tue 10-Jul-07 10:28:01

Sorry - I mst have got my Tonbridges and Tunbridges mixed up!

pyjamaqueen Tue 10-Jul-07 12:30:48

Frogs - I know it's ultimately down to you if you want to put your child in for the 11+, it's just easier if you have the school's backup. Luckily I haven't come across Heads who are anti grammar schools - you'd think it would be good for their image if pupils got in!

clerkKent Tue 10-Jul-07 13:01:33

DS had a private tutor once a week in year 5, plus Saturday school. He also did practice NFER papers at home. Most of his friends at primary started private tuition much earlier. Every single parent we spoke to had taken some measure to prepare their boys for the grammar school entrance exams (SW London). DS ended up with several offers.

The main reasons for extra tuition is to get practice with exam conditions, and to put your kid on a level playing field with all the others.

MummyPenguin Tue 10-Jul-07 16:02:06

Not going to read all the posts, have read the first few and will add my experience.
DD is starting grammar here in Bournemouth in Sept. She started going to a tutor who is just a retired teacher who lives locally, in the December of year 5. However, the tutor spent the first few months building DD's confidence in her work, particulalrly maths. Soon after starting with the tutor, DD moved into the top Maths set at school. She was already in top sets for other subjects. They started working on 11 plus subjects around the June time. I worried that this may be a little late, but thought the tutor must know what she was doing. DD sat the 11 plus in the November, and we heard that she'd got a place at the grammar school on the first day of the Easter holidays.

In my experience, I would say it's really not necessary to change schools or anything as extreme as that. That could really work against you if your DD/DS wasn't happy in the new school. Just find a good tutor and get your child coached in 11 plus. Some people are against tutoring and are of the opinion that the child should be able to get in to grammar schools 'on their own merits.' I don't agree. My philosophy is that you wouldn't sit a driving test or any sort of test without first being 'coached' in what the test is for. Besides, a lot of schools don't teach verbal reasoning.

Also, I might add that I think year 4 is too early to start 11 plus tuition. You don't want to end up with over-kill and a child who is heartily sick of it by the time the 11 plus exam comes around.

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